Sassy Friday – Christians and Political Correctness

I’ve seen the eye roll one too many times.  I can’t keep my mouth keyboard shut any longer.

Why are so many Christians opposed to political correctness?

According to good old Wikipedia, political correctness  is a term that refers to language, ideas, or policies that address perceived or actual discrimination against or alienation of politically, socially or economically disadvantaged groups.

In many Christian communities, the phrase “pc” is more offensive than the f-bomb, more eye-rolled-at than the mention of Al Gore, and more opposed than healthcare reform (but only slightly).

I hear Christians say that the political correctness agenda has been invented and embraced to undermine Christianity.  I hear Christians say that they won’t be politically correct because the notion of inclusion is non-Christian.  I hear  Christians say that political correctness muddies the truth.

But I believe that unless we know how to speak lovingly to and about our neighbors, we are undermining Christianity, we are being non-Christian, and we are muddying the truth.  Jesus loves people and his followers ought to do the same.  It’s hard to prove that we love someone when we attack, disrespect, misunderstand, and talk down to someone.

But seriously, when did speaking with care become an anti-Christian agenda?

God forbid we speak lovingly to our neighbor – oh wait, I think He is actually all for that.

Why would we not want to call our neighbors what they want to be called?  Why would we not want to learn what ethnicity our neighbors are?  Why would we want to label our neighbors at all?  Why would we not respect and give greetings when our neighbors holidays are different from our own?  Why would we not choose our speech carefully, considering who it could hurt and offend those around us?

Maybe part of it is that many of us don’t have actual neighbors who are much different than us.  Maybe we make the statements we do because we don’t really know any people to whom those statements apply.  Or maybe it’s just because we have an agenda, which we have labeled God’s agenda.

But…

Why do we get jollies from promoting discrimination?

Why do we fight to continue to call people with an intellectual disability retarded?

Why do we enjoy stereotyping?

Why do we balk at calling someone a flight attendant rather than a stewardess?

Why do we get pleasure from pushing our own agenda?

Why do we want to make everyone celebrate Christmas?

I’m not talking about changing interpretation of Scripture.  I’m not talking about changing political affiliation.  I am, however, talking about changing the way we talk about and interact with people.  People are not politics.  Individuals are not pawns in our personal stakes.

The Jesus I know  loved people.  He loved the poor and the rich, the women and the men, the unmarried and the married, the sick and the healthy, the Samaritans and the Jews.  Jesus looked on people with compassion and Jesus spoke to people with compassion.

I’m sorry, you’re right.  Jesus was offensive at times.  TO THE RELIGIOUS FOLKS.  Not to the outcast, the discriminated against, the marginalized, and the hurting.

And you know why political correctness is being promoted?  To protect the outcast, the discriminated against, the marginalized, and the hurting.  Political correctness is about changing hate-language, it’s about esteeming others,  it’s about making everyone feel equal, it’s about disbanding stereotypes.

I think that’s pretty in line with the work that Jesus was all about.

I see a lot of Christians who are more concerned with being right than with being in relationship.

And I guess the question I’m asking is: Is a political affiliation more important than a Christian reputation?  Is a label on homosexual relationships more important than building relationships?  Is pushing holiday celebrations onto others worth pushing others away?

Let’s love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31).  Golden rule stuff.  Let’s treat people like we want to be treated.  If you as a Christian don’t want to celebrate Ramadan, your Muslim neighbors probably don’t want to celebrate Christmas.  And that’s ok.  Honestly, I don’t think Jesus would love what Christmas in America has become.  I don’t know how Santa and stockings and Christmas lights point to Jesus anyway.  Getting to know your neighbors and their family and their work and their faith will open more doors to share about Jesus than saying “Merry Christmas” to them, knowing full-well they don’t celebrate Christmas.

Let’s be very careful then how we live.  Not as unwise but as wise (Ephesians 5).  This is a big one.  People watch how we live.  If we are bold and outspoken about our faith, others watch to see if our life is congruent.  The #1 reason people site for being turned off to Christianity is judgmentalism.  When we talk down to people, label people, and push our agendas, we are perceived as judgmental and we are being judgmental.

God’s agenda is people.  God’s agenda is redemption.  God’s agenda is reconciliation.  God’s agenda is salvation.  If we are fighting to push agendas that don’t bring those about, they are our agenda’s not God’s.

Speaking kindly, calling people what they wish to be called, and not pushing our agenda to the detriment of others is not anti-gospel and it’s not anti-truth.  We can take a stand on issues while not alienating others.  We can disagree with others without disrespecting them.  We can build friendships with people who don’t share our beliefs.  It’s very hard to witness to someone we’ve offended and disrespected.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. – James 1:26

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